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Fourth center opens at University of Illinois Chicago Campus   Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez provided ...

Archive for April 13th, 2017

Indivisible IL-5 to Host Town Hall on Resisting Trump Agenda on April 17

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

In cooperation with Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Mike Quigley, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

In town halls all across the country, Indivisible groups are successfully pushing their representatives on a wide range of issues. Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Mike Quigley, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky will be participating in a Town Hall meeting focusing on the new era of active citizenship. This event is about regular people—many of them with no prior experience in political activism—stepping forward to have a stronger voice in their government. 

 

Indivisible IL-5, an umbrella group supporting local Indivisible groups across Chicago’s North Side, Northwest Side, and suburbs within Illinois’s Congressional District 5, is hosting the event.

Speakers:
Dick Durbin, US Senator
Mike Quigley, US Congressman,
Jan Schakowsky, US Congresswoman,
Ann Williams, IL State Representative
Greg Harris, IL State Representative

Topics: Russia investigation, health care, immigration

Location:
Auditorium, Irish American Heritage Center
4626 N Knox Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

 

Agenda:
5:45 PM: Doors open
6:15 PM: Opening remarks by Indivisible IL-5
6:30 PM: US Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky
7:30 PM: IL State Representatives Ann Williams and Greg Harris

Additional information:

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/643898879138884/

Indivisible IL-5’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/indivisible.chicago.il5/

About Senator Dick Durbin
Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Springfield, is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois, the state’s senior senator, and the convener of Illinois’ bipartisan congressional delegation. Durbin also serves as the Democratic Whip, the second highest ranking position among the Senate Democrats. Senator Durbin has been elected to this leadership post by his Democratic colleagues every two years since 2005.
Durbin sits on the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, and Rules Committees. He is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and the Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee.

About Rep. Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley was elected to Congress to represent Illinois’ 5th District on April 7, 2009. A former Cook County Commissioner who began his career through community service and environmental stewardship in the Lakeview neighborhood, Mike has served the Chicago area for more than thirty years. In the U.S. House of Representatives, he serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Intelligence Committee, where he is helping lead the investigation into Russia. He also serves as Vice Chair of both the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition and the LGBT Equality Caucus.

About Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Jan Schakowsky was elected to represent IIllinois’ 9th Congressional District in 1998, after serving for eight years in the Illinois General Assembly. She is in her tenth term, serving in the House Democratic Leadership as Chief Deputy Whip and member of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She is a member of the House Budget Committee, as well as the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she serves as Ranking Member of the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, and as a member of the Health and Oversight & Investigations Subcommittees.

About Indivisible
Indivisible’s mission is threefold. 1. Resist Trump’s agenda. Indivisible believes Trump’s agenda is racist, authoritarian, and corrupt. It must be stopped. 2. Focus on local, defensive congressional advocacy. 3. Embrace progressive values. Indivisible models inclusion, respect, fairness, and non-violence in all of their actions. Indivisible IL-5 represents the Indivisible ideals by demanding that local Members of Congress serve as Chicago’s voice in Washington, DC. For more information on Indivisible visit www.indivisibleguide.com.

Immigration Agents Accused of Violence During Chicago Raids, Family of Man Harmed by Agents Requests Emergency Medical Release

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The family of Wilmer Catalan Ramirez will be submitting evidence about his severe medical condition, a result of the treatment he received by immigration agents during a recent immigration raid in Chicago’s southwest side. Advocates will also present evidence of use of violence and disregard for civil rights by immigration agents during recent operations in Chicago. ​

There will be a rally and submission of emergency release request for Wilmer Catalan Ramirez. The event will include testimonies from Wilmer’s family, legal representatives, civil rights advocates, and community organizers, as well as evidence of violence committed by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents during other recent immigration raids through Chicago and suburbs.

The rally will be held Thursday April 13, 2017, 11:00 a.m., outside of Immigration Enforcement Office, at 101 West Congress, Chicago.

Celene Adame, wife of Wilmer Catalan Ramirez; Irene Romulo, deportation defense organizer for Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD); Diana Rashid, one of Wilmer’s immigration attorneys with Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC); Maria Gonzalez, witness to recent Little Village raids; Julie Mao, Wilmer’s attorney at National Immigration Project (NIPNLG), Mony Ruiz-Velasco, PASO’s executive director, as well as members of ENLACE, La Villita Se Defiende, and The Autonomous Tenants Union, will be at the rally.

On Monday, March 27th, immigration enforcement agents forced their way into the home of Wilmer Catalan Ramirez. In the process of apprehending Wilmer, the immigration agents threw him onto the ground and handcuffed him. At the time of his detention, Wilmer was recuperating from a recent incident of gun violence that caused paralysis to the left-side of his body and requires him to use a leg brace. This exchange left him with a fractured  arm for which he has not received adequate medical care in detention. Wilmer’s family is asking for the release of Wilmer to ensure proper medical care is being provided to him.

As immigration agents are conducting raids in Illinois, individuals are coming forward with evidence of physical violence and potential constitutional violations. Recent victims and the supporting community are looking into all available legal recourses to put a halt to the violent raids and unlawful ICE behavior. In Chicago, they are demanding city council to pass the proposed amendments to the Welcoming City Ordinance to expand protections for those targeted by the deportation agents and at the state-level coalitions are working to pass the Trust Act (SB31) to ensure statewide protections  for communities in Illinois under attack by the federal administration.

Organizations:

Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), an undocumented-led organization that fights against the deportation and criminalization of Black and brown immigrant communities.

Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides legal assistance to immigrant communities, legal practitioners, and advocates working to protect the rights of non-citizens.

West Suburban Action Project (PASO) is a community organization dedicated to the leadership development and civic participation of community members in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

See fact sheet on Wilmer’s case here.

Cook County Board Approves Tax Incentives to Support Economic Growth

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Preckwinkle applauds actions to create, retain jobs

 

Cook County commissioners approved proposals by President Preckwinkle’s Bureau of Economic Development (BED) that will provide tax incentives to business in five suburban communities, as well as save and create jobs.

 

A total of five tax Incentives were approved in the following communities: Bellwood, Bridgeview, Elk Grove Village, Hillside and South Holland.  These redevelopment activities should yield an estimated 72 new private sector jobs created, 46 jobs retained and 41 construction jobs supported.

 

“Helping businesses create and retain good-paying jobs is a major focus of our economic development efforts,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “The companies receiving these incentives have demonstrated their commitment to their communities and our residents, and deserve our assistance in growing their businesses.”

 

Details on the incentives follow:

 

  • Business Name: Best Logistics Group, LLC

Project Address: 10 Davis Drive, Bellwood

Project Description: Best Logistics Group performs warehousing, storage and distribution. The applicant is relocating and expanding to the subject property.

Type of Incentive: Class 6b

Estimated: 10 full-time jobs retained

 

  • Business Name: Lifting Gear Hiring Corporation

Address: 7518 West 98th Place, Bridgeview

Project Description: The applicant will substantially rehabilitate and lease the subject property to Lifting Gear, a national rental and sale provider of lifting and rigging equipment.

Type of Incentive: Class 7a

Estimated:  10 full-time jobs created, 13 full-time jobs retained, 10 construction jobs supported

 

  • Business Name: Gorilla Paper, Inc.

Project Address: 1125 Lunt Avenue, Elk Grove Village

Project Description: Gorilla Paper, Inc. will occupy the property for warehousing and distribution of business machine paper, thermal paper rolls, credit card paper rolls and manual imprinters.

Type of Incentive: Class 6b

Estimated: 12 full time jobs created, 3 full time jobs retained, 3 construction jobs supported

 

  • Business Name: Alliance Co. and Alliance Door and Hardware

Project Address: 225 Fencl Lane, Hillside

Project Description: Applicant intends to purchase and rehabilitate the subject property and lease to Alliance Co. and Alliance Door and Hardware, related entities, for their operations. Alliance Co. is a full-service commercial carpentry contractor which was formed in 2005, and Alliance Door and Hardware is a commercial door supplier formed in 2013.

Type of Incentive: Class 6b

Estimated: 20 full time jobs retained, 8 construction jobs supported

 

  • Business Name: Panera, Sprint, other commercial tenants

Project Address: 300 East 162nd Street, South Holland

Project Description: The applicant owns the subject property and will be occupying vacant property with various commercial uses. Retail strip center with various tenants.

Type of Incentive: Class 8 Tax Incentive

Estimated: 50 full-time jobs created, 20 construction jobs supported

 

For additional information about the tax incentive programs offered by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, go to www.cookcountyil.gov/economicdevelopment.

 

 

New Top Ten Fugitive: FBI: Help Us Catch a Murderer

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

A New Jersey gang member wanted in connection with a brutal, premeditated murder has been named to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and a reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to his capture.

Walter Yovany Gomez, in his early 20s at the time of the 2011 murder in Plainfield, New Jersey, was attempting to become a full member of MS-13 by carrying out a gang-ordered killing. It didn’t matter that the target was Gomez’s friend—the man had allegedly shown disrespect to the gang.

 

Part of the Plainfield Locos Salvatrucha (PLS) crew, Gomez was assigned the hit when his bosses heard that one of their associates had been seen socializing in a bar with a rival 18th Street Gang member. Ordering a murder for such a sign of disrespect is not uncommon for MS-13, a transnational gang known for its extreme violence.

“To become a full-fledged member of MS-13,” said Special Agent Dan Brunner, who is investigating the case from the FBI’s Newark Division, “you have to kill someone on behalf of your local clique, or crew. Only then can you get the MS-13 letters tattooed on your body,” Brunner explained. “Gomez had not earned his letters yet.”

On May 8, 2011, Gomez—known to his friends as Cholo—invited himself and a co-conspirator to the victim’s house. Another person was there who was not involved in the plot. The four were drinking, smoking weed, and watching TV. “They were all friends,” Brunner said. “The victim had no reason to suspect that he was going to be murdered.”

“This is an extremely violent criminal who needs to be captured.”

Dan Brunner, special agent, FBI Newark

The victim, Julio Matute, partied with his friends all night. Early the next morning, as he was getting dressed to go to work, Gomez grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and struck Matute in the back of his head several times. When he fell to the floor, Gomez cut his throat with a knife, then grabbed a screwdriver and repeatedly stabbed him in the back.

“He was stabbed so many times that when his body was discovered a week later,” Brunner said, “police officers thought that he had been shot with a shotgun.”

Gomez’s fellow attacker was later arrested, but when police went to Gomez’s residence, he jumped out a rear window and fled into the woods. Later investigation revealed that he drove to Maryland with assistance from fellow MS-13 gang members.

A Honduran citizen who came to the U.S. illegally, Gomez is not believed to have left the country. He may be residing in Maryland or Northern Virginia, where there are thousands of MS-13 members, Brunner said. Or he may have returned to New Jersey. “He would probably be considered a higher-ranking member of the gang now,” Brunner added.

With the exception of Gomez, all of the gang members involved in Matute’s murder have been prosecuted. In 2013, Gomez was charged with murder in the aid of racketeering, which carries a mandatory life sentence (Gomez’s fellow attacker received a mandatory life sentence).

Brunner believes the $100,000 reward in the case will bring someone forward. “It is unlikely that a fellow MS-13 member would turn Gomez in,” he said, “but he works construction doing dry wall, and someone on a construction crew not involved with the gang could recognize him and do the right thing. This is an extremely violent criminal who needs to be captured.”

Anyone with information concerning Gomez should contact the nearest FBI office or local law enforcement agency, or submit a tip online.

Source: FBI

School Districts’ Annual Financial Profiles Reveal Consequences of Inadequate and Inequitable State Funding

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

  Many school districts incurred debt to cover normal operations

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) voted to approve the Annual Financial Profiles (AFP) for school districts statewide. ISBE created the 2017 AFP by analyzing school districts’ fiscal year 2016 Annual Financial Reports. View the 2017 Annual Financial Profiles at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/School-District-Financial-Profile.aspx.

Statewide in FY 2016, the increase in total operational revenues exceeded the increase in total operational expenditures, leading to a slight increase in school districts’ overall scores for financial strength. However, more than a fourth of all Illinois school districts issued short- or long-term debt to sustain normal operations. School districts pay interest on outstanding debt, which decreases the funds available for education services in the future. Many school districts also eliminated staff and programming to reduce operational costs.

“Illinois school districts’ financial health has improved over the last year, but at what cost to students?” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Illinois must overhaul our school funding model, which is the most inadequate and the most inequitable in the country. Every school district in the state is having to make hard choices to cover the day-to-day costs of keeping their schools’ doors open. Forcing school districts to rely primarily on taxing local property wealth to fund education inherently means the students who need the most will receive the least. We expect dedication, innovation, and improvement from our administrators, educators, and students; we owe them the resources necessary to meet those expectations.”

Statute requires the AFP analysis to count mandated categorical program (MCAT) funds as revenue, though school districts received their final FY 2016 quarterly MCAT payment six months late. School districts have not received any MCAT payments for the first three quarters of FY 2017.

The profiles provide school districts and their stakeholders with information on school districts’ financial integrity. School districts receive a score from 1.00 (lowest financial strength) to 4.00 (highest financial strength) and a corresponding designation (4.00 through 3.54: Financial Recognition; 3.53 through 3.08: Financial Review; 3.07 through 2.62: Financial Warning; and 2.61 through 1.00: Financial Watch).

ISBE developed the AFP in 2003 in consultation with experts in finance and lending, credit agencies, and school district business officials in order to promote sound financial management. The profiles examine five key indicators of financial integrity: fund balance to revenue ratio, expenditure to revenue ratio, days cash on hand, percentage of short-term borrowing ability remaining, and percentage of long-term borrowing ability remaining.

ISBE provides tools and guidance on financial management to all school districts seeking assistance and to school districts designated in Financial Watch.

Illinois Women March on Springfield April 25 for Progressive Agenda, Responsible Budget

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Women and their allies from across Illinois are expected to join forces to push for a responsible budget and progressive agenda of bills in Springfield Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Individuals representing a wide range of issues and more than 50 organizations will march around the state capitol and lobby for legislation.

The list of bills people can choose to lobby state reps and senators on include women’s health and choice, labor issues including the Fight for $15, immigration, homelessness, criminal legal reform, the environment, LGBTQ, gun safety efforts, economics, education, the ERA and passing a responsible budget in Illinois.

More than 30 elected officials have also signed on to support the march, and some of them will be addressing the crowd at the Noon rally at the Lincoln Statue in front of the Capitol Building April 25. Other speakers will include those most impacted by the delayed budget and proposed legislation in Springfield.

The complete agenda, with more bills expected, is available on the March website: http://www.illinoiswomenmarchonspringfield.org.

“This march represents a huge, intersectional slate of issues,” said organizers. “While many groups have their own individual agendas, this is an effort to build bridges and lobby across interest lines. Together we are more powerful.”

Illinois Women March on Springfield is co-chaired by Jaquie Algee (SEIU Healthcare and Women’s March on Chicago); Tracy Baim (Windy City Times and Pride Action Tank); Jennifer Camille Lee (Action Illinois and Women Rising-Illinois); and Jessica Scheller (Women’s March on Chicago).

The program will start at noon with a rally in front of the Lincoln Statue at the Capitol Building, followed by a march around the capitol complex, and lobbying elected officials inside. At 2:30 p.m., there will be a final rally in the rotunda, including next steps on organizing support for the legislation still pending in Springfield. People are encouraged to make April 25 appointments now with their representatives and senators, and lobby for legislation from now until the end of May, when this session ends.

Available on site April 25 will be thousands of pink post cards, which individuals can use to send or drop off a message to their elected officials on legislation they support. The website has printable and shareable post cards and social media, so people can lobby in advance for bills.

The website also has a process where organizations and elected officials can join the effort. The site also has transportation suggestions, and legislative tips.

The Champion partners of the march are: Action Illinois, Alphawood Foundation, Chicago Foundation for Women, Crossroads Fund, Indivisible Illinois, Pride Action Tank, SEIU-Healthcare IL and IN, Windy City Times, Women’s March on Chicago, Women Rising – Illinois.

Other partners for the March include the Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Illinois NOW, CAIR-Chicago, Chicago Women Take Action, Chicago Teachers Union, Equality Illinois, Amalgamated Transit Union 308 (ATU), AFSCME, G-PAC, Citizen Action, OFA, Mujeras Latinas en Accion, Fight for $15 Chicago, National Immigrant Justice Center, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Women Employed, Women’s March Illinois, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Lambda Legal, and the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago. See many more online.

Website: http://www.illinoiswomenmarchonspringfield.org/ .

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Illinois-Women-March-on-Springfield-1293918460687078/ .

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1411568288899392/ .

NAACP Announces Potential Legal Challenge to DOJ Rollback on Consent Decrees

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Group questions legality of modifying agreements after the fact

 

Baltimore —The NAACP issued a letter to Attorney General Sessions questioning the legality of announced attempts to modify consent decrees between the Department of Justice and a number of municipalities across the country and their police departments. The organization is prepared to pursue litigation to challenge attempted modifications.Today’s letter to Attorney General Sessions urges DOJ to support the policing reform efforts reflected in the consent decrees: “It is not enough, we submit, that the current administration might have chosen not to include certain provisions in the consent decrees or not to have instituted a pattern or practice investigation in the first instance. The investigations have been conducted, the facts have been found, and the agreed-upon remedies are being implemented. The current leadership of the Department of Justice should support the meaningful progress that has been made in reforming policing practices in these jurisdictions rather than deliberately impeding that progress.”

The letter goes on to state: “[S]hould the Department of Justice seek changes to the terms of existing policing consent decrees, it would be required to justify the changes based on something more than a shift in priorities. It would have to demonstrate a significant change in the facts or the law. Based on the justifications put forth by the Department thus far in its public statements on the subject, we doubt that the Department could satisfy this test.” The letter promises NAACP opposition to any changes to the consent decrees that fail to satisfy governing legal standards.

Currently, the Department of Justice is party to 14 consent decrees with municipalities and law enforcement agencies regarding their policing practices. This week, after the Attorney General ordered a review of all policing consent decrees entered by the Department of Justice across the nation, the Department of Justice unsuccessfully sought to postpone a hearing on its proposed consent decree with the city of Baltimore.

“The Attorney General’s attempts to re-litigate or eliminate policing reforms designed to address systemic misconduct represents a morally bankrupt step that could have disastrous results regarding the protection of Black lives,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.

“The NAACP is prepared for protests in the streets and action in both the courts of law and the court of public opinion against any attempt by the Attorney General to normalize race-based misconduct by law enforcement officers,” he added.

 

Aspiring Music Producers Can Win $15K and Mentorship From Industry Expert DJ/Producer Don Cannon

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The Craft Syndicate by Dutch Masters program is hosting their 2nd annual competition. searching for innovators and encouraging creative entrepreneurship. 

Don Cannon
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Craft Syndicate by Dutch Masters wants to give a mentorship opportunity and a $15,000 grant to aspiring music producers. Craft Syndicate returns, celebrating its 2nd year and is searching for innovators with an unwavering commitment to making their dream a reality. Craft Syndicate looks to share the craft by pairing an aspiring music producer with an established music producer and entrepreneur, and tasking them to collaborate in developing a marketable song. The winner of this years competition will be awarded the opportunity to work with industry expert and noted music producer, Don Cannon.Hopefuls can register to be entered into the competition:* Entry: March 31 through April 20, 2017, producers 21 and older can apply by registering through the Craft Syndicate official site, www.Craft-Syndicate.com. Once registered, an entrant may submit one or more music tracks and must upload, tagging each with @craft_syndicate and using the hashtag #CraftSyndicate in the post copy to a participating social media site (i.e., Twitter, Soundcloud or Instagram)* Selection: Contest entries will be initially judged by a panel of music professionals each of whom will select up to 10 finalists.

* Finals: Mentor, Don Cannon, will select the grand prize winner, from all the chosen finalists.

Being a mentor for the Craft Syndicate program allows me to connect to and inspire other DJs and producers to excel and know there are no limits to their futures, said mentor Don Cannon. As a music executive and DJ I look forward to working with young producers and artists because it allows me to get re-energized.. I always keep my ear to the streets and working directly with them is the best way to understand how any generation’s music works.

Im excited to hear all the submissions and meet the winner, said Sarah Krysalka, Director of Marketing for Dutch Masters. When you think of Dutch Masters, you think of craftsmanship, creativity, camaraderie and the role it plays in culture with such die-hard fans. So Craft Syndicate is all about finding those individuals who, too, are perfecting their craft. Who have not just the desire but the need to express themselves through their art. Who are gratified not only when their work gets some shine, but also when their peer, their community, their cause is being heard and reverberated. This program is to honor their hustle and support their artistic expression. And personally, when you see someone whos ready, whos doing the work, someone who just needs that opportunity and I can help give it to them… thats a big reason I love my job. I cant wait to hear the finished track. Future mentee Ill see you at the release party!

Lending their expertise to the this program as Craft Syndicate judges will be Grammy Award winning producer, and music executive, Kawan KP Prather, resident tour DJ, and author, DJ Mars, and music producer OG Parker.

In 2016, the first Craft Syndicate program was launched in the fashion vertical and partnered with renowned fashion designer Jeff Staple. Program winner, Alexander-John, and Jeff Staple went on to launch a successful street wear collection: OFLUXURY.

As part of Craft Syndicates ongoing commitment to creative entrepreneurship, the plan is to roll out additional programs in 2017. Once again, pairing up-and-coming creators in fashion, film, food and art/design with established entrepreneurs for the purpose of sharing the craft and collaborating on all-new products together.

For official rules and more information, visit www.Craft-Syndicate.com.
About Craft Syndicate
Designed to bring dimension to and serve as proof of Dutch Masters value proposition, Share in the Craft, Craft Syndicate is a communications platform that uses social media to encourage creative entrepreneurship. It works towards this goal by pairing aspiring entrepreneurs in fashion, music, design, art, food & film with established entrepreneurs in each field and tasking them with co-developing a new product. Each program is fully funded by a grant of up to $15,000 awarded by Dutch Masters.

 

Photo Caption: DJ/producer Craft Syndicate mentor Don Cannon

 

 

 

Jewish Voice for Peace Condemns Illinois Politicians’ Exploitation of Anti-Semitism to Defend Israeli Policies

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Rauner, Mendoza and Zopp’s use of anti-Semitism to justify their support of Israeli repression of Palestinians, including through Islamophobe-funded trip to Israel, cheapens struggle against bigotry.

CHICAGO, IL Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago condemns two recent examples of Illinois politicians conflating support for Israel’s repression of Palestinian rights with combatting anti-Semitism and hate crimes. Israel is a nation state, not a religion or ethnic group, and is subject to criticism like any other nation. It relentlessly violates the human rights of Palestinians through home demolitions, illegal land grabs, humiliating checkpoints, and extra judicial executions. ”Solidarity” with Israel does nothing to discourage hate crimes, and opposition to Israeli policies is not antisemitism.

On March 8 in remarks at the  Illinois Holocaust Museum Humanitarian Awards dinner, Governor Rauner pledged to strengthen Illinois’ law targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights by “prohibiting state contracts for companies that boycott Israel.”

Last week Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Deputy Mayor of Chicago Andrea Zopp participated in an Israeli government-sponsored “Women in Leadership” delegation to Israel. Comptroller Mendoza justified her participation by pointing to Governor Rauner’s March 8 statements regarding “an uptick in anti-Semitic threats and acts of vandalism…in Illinois and around the country,” adding that “Illinois’ leaders ‘cannot stay silent on hate’” and therefore it is important to “reaffirm our state’s strong cultural, religious, political and economic ties to Israel.”

We agree that anti-Semitism and all forms of racial and ethnic bigotry require action, yet we do not accept that visiting Israel, or criminalizing peaceful opposition to its numerous human rights violations, is in any way a stance against hate. Nor is solidarity with Israel equivalent to support for Jews.

By targeting supporters of Palestinian human rights, public figures both feed into the worsening climate of hatred toward Arabs and Muslims and distract from the key role the Trump administration continues to play in fanning hatred towards Muslims, Arabs, Jews, People of Color, LGBTQIA people, women and immigrants.  

It is ironic, given the stated aims of combatting bigotry, that the trip was co-sponsored by the American Israel Friendship League (AIFL), an organization which includes notorious Islamophobes and right-wing extremists on its board, as well as Jewish leaders who have excused President Trump’s racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic actions due to his support for Israel. Some examples include:

Legitimizing Israel’s repression of Palestinian rights by participating in this trip in no way combats anti-Semitism. It is perfectly legitimate to criticize the State of Israel’s systematic oppression of Palestinians.  It is not legitimate to equate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. Expressing solidarity for the state of Israel is a poor way to indicate a stance against ethnic hatred.

The best way to combat anti-Semitism is to do so as part of the struggle against all forms of hate – in particular the ongoing onslaught against the U.S. Muslim community, expressed not only in random acts of violence, but through municipal, state and federal actions targeting “sharia law”, the use of highly paid anti-Muslim extremists as “experts” in government circles, and of course federal executive orders and Illinois policies targeting Muslim and Syrian immigrants. Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago encourages our elected officials to join that struggle, rather than exploiting fears of anti-Semitism to undermine  the liberation  movement of the Palestinian people.

JVP-Chicago is the local branch of Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jvp.org), a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 60 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

Federal Program Offers $35,000 to Assist Seniors Struggling with Reverse Mortgages

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois’ Reverse Mortgage Assistance Program helps senior homeowners with reverse mortgages avoid foreclosure

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) launched the Reverse Mortgage Assistance Program to help senior homeowners with a reverse mortgage pay back taxes and avoid foreclosure. Starting April 3, IHDA will provide up to $35,000 in federal assistance to qualifying borrowers with reverse mortgages to pay overdue property taxes, eligible property expenses and future property taxes so they can avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes.

“There is a real need for this kind of assistance in Illinois,” said IHDA Executive Director Audra Hamernik. “Many of these seniors are on fixed incomes and took out a reverse mortgage to help with healthcare or everyday living costs. They don’t have the resources to weather an unexpected home repair, medical event or loss of household income. This program offers the help they need to get back on track with their payments before they lose their home.”

Reverse Mortgages allow homeowners 62 and older to borrow against the equity they have built up in their home. The proceeds the borrower receives from the reverse mortgage must be repaid when the house is sold or the homeowners move. The borrower is still responsible for paying property taxes and homeowner’s insurance, and if they are unable to keep up with their payments, they may lose the home to foreclosure.

The Reverse Mortgage Assistance Program offers up to $35,000 to reinstate a homeowner’s delinquent property expenses and pay future taxes and insurance for up to two years. The assistance provides a window of opportunity for the homeowner to develop a financial recovery plan with a certified housing counselor without the immediate threat of foreclosure. To qualify, the homeowner must have taken out an FHA Reverse Mortgage secured to a property located in Illinois and experienced a qualifying hardship. The homeowner must live in the property as their primary residence and have a household income lower than 120 percent of their county’s median income, or $73,920 for a household of two in Cook County.

The Reverse Mortgage Assistance program is funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program, a resource created in 2010 to provide targeted assistance to states deemed hardest hit by the economic and housing market downturn. The program was designed to leverage the expertise of state and local partners by funding locally-tailored foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization solutions. In addition to the new reverse mortgage program, IHDA uses HHF funds for temporary mortgage payment assistance, refinance assistance, blight elimination and down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. Together, the programs cater to the specific needs of homeowners, homebuyers and entire communities.

Interested homeowners can apply through one of the housing counseling agencies below:

Housing Agency

City Phone

H.O.M.E DuPage

Wheaton (630) 260-2500
CCCS of Northern Illinois Woodstock (815) 338-5757

Mortgage Education Foundation

Palos Heights

(708) 761-6264

Neighborhood Housing Services  of Chicago

East Hazel Crest

(773) 329-4222

Chicago – 2609 W 63rd St

(773) 434-9632

Chicago – 1279 N Milwaukee Ave

(773) 329-4010

Chicago – 11001 S Michigan Ave

(773) 568-1020

Elgin

(847) 695-0399
Northwest Side Housing Center

Chicago – 5233 W Diversey Ave

(773) 283-3888
Restoration America, Inc.

Crystal Lake

(847) 783-0232
Will County CCC

Joliet

(815) 722-0722

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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